New York Streets, the West End, Villa Victoria, Tent City, Stop the Highway: “Progress” vs. Community Control in Boston’s Neighborhoods
Many of the national trends, public and governmental policies, and institutional practices that have shaped Boston’s physical geographies have roots in structural racism – a network of factors that perpetuate racial inequality and result in intergenerational wealth gaps, and highly segregated neighborhoods. Restrictive community covenants, redlining, urban renewal, divestment, and the placement of highways and mass transit have influenced where Bostonians live, and largely determine access to Boston’s amenities.
However, Bostonians are resilient – communities’ acts of network building, activism, and resistance to imposed development in favor of neighborhood control have also shaped the geography of the City in a significant way. Giordana Mecagni, Head of Special Collections and University Archivist at Northeastern University will illustrate the effect of community protest on Boston’s geography, as seen through examples collected by Boston’s many archival collections, including Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections.
BIO: Giordana Mecagni
Giordana Mecagni is Head of Special Collections and University Archivist at Northeastern University. Prior to that she held various positions at Associated Grant Makers in Boston, the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe/Harvard, and at Harvard Medical School’s Center for the History of Medicine. She holds a BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the University of New Hampshire, and an MLIS with an archives concentration from Simmons. Giordana lives in East Boston, is interested in urban agriculture and urban planning, and plays the Underwood 5 in the Boston Typewriter Orchestra.